21 June 2015

Millions across India, world take part in Yoga Day exercises

A young Exile Tibetan practices yoga at the Tibetan Children's Village School in Dharmsala, India, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Sunday, June 21, marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering.
Millions of yoga enthusiasts bent and twisted their bodies in complex postures across India and much of the world on Sunday to mark the first International Yoga Day.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had lobbied the U.N. to declare June 21 as the global Yoga Day, spread his mat among rows of people, including his Cabinet members and foreign diplomats, at New Delhi's main thoroughfare that has been transformed into one sprawling exercise ground.
Tens of thousands of schoolchildren, bureaucrats, homemakers, soldiers and ordinary folk took part in the exercise, which was repeated in all Indian state capitals. In Modi's home state of Gujarat, public yoga events were organized at nearly 30,000 places, state officials said.
Indian children attend yoga rehearsals ahead of International Yoga Day to be marked on June 21, in Ahmadabad, India, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering.

"We are not only celebrating a day, but we are training the human mind to begin a new era of peace and harmony," Modi told participants. "This is a program for the benefit of mankind, for a tension-free world and to spread the message of harmony."
In Taipei, more than 2,000 participants rolled out mats and performed 108 rounds of the "sun salutation" — the sequence of yoga poses often practiced at the beginning of a routine as the sun rises.
"They give themselves a piece of time to observe their mind and their heart, which I think in the modern society we need a lot," said practitioner Angela Hsi.
Fazel Shah, an Indian pilot working for a Middle Eastern airline, rushed from the airport on his stopover in Taiwan to join the event.
Indian Sadhu, or Hindu Holy men, perform yoga on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad, India, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Sunday, June 21, marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering.

"Isn't it awesome? I mean, just look at the number of people who are here, embracing it," he said.
He said yoga was probably born in India but belongs anywhere. "If you go up from where I am and look from the sky down, you don't see borders, you don't see religions, you don't see nationalities, you just see one group of people. So, I just go down and meet up with them, that's all".
Similar events were held in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and other places.
Many believe that yoga, the ancient form of exercise, is the best way to calm the mind and the best form of exercise for the body.
Indian officials said more than 35,000 people participated in the New Delhi event that was also an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest single yoga class at a single venue. Guinness representatives said they hired more than 1,500 members of a global accounting firm to count the number of participants at the Delhi venue.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, performs breathing exercise during yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.

India's Defense Ministry said that soldiers on the Siachen Glacier, the world's highest battleground in the Himalayas, and naval cadets on navy ships at sea also would be participating in the Yoga Day events.
Although Modi's message was one of peace and harmony, many in India were concerned that the push for yoga was an attempt by Hindu groups to give a boost to Hinduism.
In the run-up to Yoga Day, many Muslims objected to the government's exhortations to join in the public exercise programs. Some Muslim leaders said yoga was a Hindu practice.
The government quickly dropped a plan for the "sun salutation" exercise, which many Muslims found objectionable because it implied the sun was a deity. Also dropped was the Hindu "om" chant.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center front, lies down on a mat as he performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.

Some Christian groups were upset that the mass yoga sessions were being held at a time when they usually attend Sunday Mass.
Others were skeptical about the time and money spent by the government on Yoga Day.
"The government organizes these hyped-up events," said Sumita Rani, a primary school teacher in South Delhi. "Last year was the Clean India Campaign. What came of it? This city is as filthy as ever." 
(AP)    
Thousands of people participate in a yoga exercise at Chulalongkorn University field, marking the International Day of Yoga in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, June 21, 2015.
Thousands of people participate in a yoga exercise at Chulalongkorn University field, marking the International Day of Yoga in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, June 21, 2015.  
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day. 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left front, lies down on a mat as he performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left front, lies down on a mat as he performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi lies down on a mat as he performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi lies down on a mat as he performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga along with thousands of Indians on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Millions of yoga enthusiasts are bending their bodies in complex postures across India as they take part in a mass yoga program to mark the first International Yoga Day.
A Malaysian man participates in a yoga exercise during the International Day of Yoga festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the adoption of June 21 as the official date for the International Day of Yoga, which was subsequently approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014.
A Malaysian man participates in a yoga exercise during the International Day of Yoga festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the adoption of June 21 as the official date for the International Day of Yoga, which was subsequently approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014.

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